Wisconsin researchers look at obesity in new way — by using ZIP codes.

The University of Wisconsin Madison Obesity Prevention Initiative developed the state’s first obesity map broken down by ZIP code rather than by county.

Initiative researchers say environment has a large influence on obesity rate, and encourage obesity-related health programs be designed for specific communities.

The map found rural areas were more likely to have higher rates of obesity.

Dr. Charlie Peters, a consultant pediatrician from the Mayo Clinic Health Systems in Onalaska, said local resources like health care, food pantries and activity centers can help community’s lower obesity rates.

“This is a very real problem nationally, but it’s also a significant problem here in Wisconsin and in the La Crosse area. We are trying to be mindful of this. We’re trying to work very closely with community resources.”

He also says community organizations need to work together to lower obesity rates.

The initiative found that 41.2% of adults and 14.8% of children in the state were obese in 2015-2016.